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Content: Using Words to Market Your Art
You're an artist, not an English major, right? Sort of. Being in the business of art requires you to wear a number of different hats. In order to maximize your sales efforts, you'll need to develop conversational and written skills that support your artistic endeavors. Don't know where to get started? We've provided a few tips and tactics below.
Make it Conversational
Does your artist's bio really let your personality shine through? Do your artwork and show descriptions read like an instruction manual or a short story? When writing (or working with a professional writer) to develop show support materials, imagine that you're having a conversation with the reader. Write in a way that flows. If you find yourself being asked the same questions about your work, consider addressing those questions in one of your pieces of marketing collateral.
One specific way to make your work more conversational is to use contractions. Consider this:
---Contractions aren't formal; they're a great way to make sure you don't sound too stodgy.
Using contractions implies more familiarity with your reader. They also help the flow of a document by mimicking the way that people talk to one another.
Make it Consistent
Even small things, like formatting a phone number differently, create psychological noise in the mind of the reader, disrupting the flow of the conversation you've worked so hard to create. Decide on one format, one name, one web URL, and then stick to it.
Make it Correct
One more thing: If you've designed a brochure or show guide using words as graphic elements, check the spelling of the words within those graphic elements. We recently saw an artist bio that used large words grayed out as the background graphics for his actual typed information. While the bio itself was grammatically correct, one very important 'background' word, 'photography', was missing the letter 'y'. Distracting at best, unprofessional at the worst.
Start and Continue a Conversation
Use your shows and other events, as well as your web site, to collect the contact information of people who attend. They've shown you, by virtue of their presence, that they're interested in a conversation…it's up to you to start one!
E-mail is a fantastic and inexpensive way to begin communicating with your audiences. If you're exhibiting in Portland, Oregon, consider culling your contact list and dropping a note to your Oregon patrons, letting them know the location, date and time. Let people know of upcoming exhibitions, artwork sales, good news. Get personal, and let them know the inspiration behind what you're working on next.
One way to reach many people with a single e-mail is by developing a newsletter that includes news, insights, articles and subtle (or not so subtle!) sales pitches. We'll talk about this more in a future issue of REDIMAT News.
Give a Call to Action
For artists, the calls to action in your marketing materials need to fit with the general tone and style of your marketing materials. Tell your prospective buyers what you would like them to do next. A photographer with a very conversational, slightly cynical tone may say, 'Go ahead and buy a photograph today, before I become really famous and start charging you a whole lot more.' An artist with a more laid-back approach might use something as simple as, 'Be sure to visit my next show at the Bijou Gallery on Front Street.'
Use your marketing materials to help guide your potential buyers
in the right direction. Let your personality shine through, keep
things consistent, make sure they're correct, and keep the conversations
flowing, and you'll see your business bloom…*without* that pesky
"....many people pass my photos down to their next generation and want to preserve them for posterity. I use the black core 8 ply to add drama to a piece."
--Corey Gilbert, Owner/photographer of Cape May, NJ's Tides of Time (http://www.tidesoftime.com)
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